Succeeding together with passion and trust: James Murdoch sends in the secret policemen

There are times when the role of management consultants is akin to that of the Stasi.

The classic example involves the arrival of a new chief executive in an organization that has grown used to doing business successfully under a long-lived predecessor.

The consultants are told to fan out, get under the surface, find out what’s going on and report back. Woe betide any manager whose pitch to the new CEO is contradicted by the consultants’ findings.

The other day, a News International journalist told me that “everything at Wapping is in flux”.

On the commercial side, I fancy it’s worse. According to Media Week, News International has entered a “consultative process”. Whether that means consultants doing their jobs, or consultation prior to redundancies, remains unclear.

What’s clear enough is the belief that James Murdoch wants to knock down the walls that separate NI’s publications into title-specific silos.

Instead, the talk is of “three separate units across News Group Newspapers and Times Media comprising commercial, digital and operations”.

In other words: a big restructuring, in which jobs will be lost as high-level commercial folk apply for new roles.

Take Paul Hayes, managing director of Times Media, and Mike Anderson, managing director of News Group Newspapers. Media Week suggests that these two are likely to find themselves competing to run operations, digital or commercial matters across the whole of NI.

Mike Gordon, deputy managing director of Times Media, seems likely to be caught up in the same contest.

And don’t even get me started on marketing, where the likely outcome of BCG’s review is a new chief marketing officer’s role.

Presumably, both Roland Agambar, News Group Newspapers’ sales and marketing director and Katie Vanneck, sales and marketing director for Times Media, will end up competing for that particular plum.

At Boston Consulting Group’s web site, the firm lists its mission as “succeeding together with passion and trust”.

No doubt there’s plenty of both circulating around Wapping at the moment.

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